LGBT Link Round-Up 4.2.15

Michigan public school removes transgender equality post after complaints from parent, students find another way to show their solidarity with trans classmates

A school bulletin board highlighting transgender equality is sparking controversy in Marshall.

The Gay Straight Alliance recently decorated the school’s bulletin board to spread a message of acceptance for their transgender classmates.

When that was taken down, some students say their right to free speech was silenced, but the district says that’s not the case.

It was meant to promote inclusion and acceptance, but instead, the board is pinning [sic] some parents against students.

“This was surrounding a Facebook incident surrounding a mother that was very upset,” said Kate Samra, the President of the Gay Straight Alliance. “She thought it was inappropriate for the school setting and that it didn’t exhibit Christian values.”

Let her be upset. It is not the job of the public school system in the United States to “exhibit Christian values”, whatever the heck that means. Come to think of it, I guess “Christian values” don’t include tolerance, an appreciation for diversity, and inclusivity. Thankfully students were able to show their solidarity in another way:

* * * *

Ooooh, this is going to cause the right-wing blogosphere to light up with irrational anger and faux outrage. The New York chapter of the Boy Scouts hired the nation’s first openly gay Eagle Scout as a summer camp leader:

The Boy Scouts’ Greater New York Councils said they hired Pascal Tessier, an 18-year-old Eagle Scout who has been a vocal advocate of opening the 105-year-old organization to gay scouts and leaders.

Board member Richard G. Mason said the councils see Tessier as “an exemplary candidate for employment as a camp leader.”

“We welcome him,” Mason said in a statement.

The Boy Scouts of America didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry about the hire. The national organization changed its policy in 2013 to allow openly gay kids as scouts, but not adults as leaders, after a bitter debate over its membership policy. The change took effect in January 2014.

Advocates for letting gays participate in scouting hailed Tessier’s hire.

“This is a watershed moment,” Zach Wahls, executive director of Scouts for Equality, said in a statement. “We are proud to see such an important Boy Scout council standing up for the full inclusion of gay members.”

When the national Boy Scouts began allowing gay boys as scouts, liberal Scout leaders and gay rights groups celebrated the shift but called for allowing gay adults to participate, too. Conservatives involved with the Scouts, including some churches that sponsor troops, decried letting any gays — including kids — participate, and some threatened to defect if the ban were lifted.

* * * *

I bet among the members of the Florida House Judiciary Committee are people frustrated over the incremental advances in LGBT rights in USAmerica. Such frustration may have played a role in the decision to pass a bill that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples on religious grounds. I guess they are determined to ensure that gays in Florida remain second class citizens.  And of course, they don’t give a shit about the welfare of the children.

Thursday morning the Republican-majority Florida House Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would expressly allow open anti-gay discrimination on religious grounds by adoption agencies that are funded with taxpayer dollars.

The bill, HB 7111, applies to private child-placing agencies, stating they are “not required to perform, assist in, recommend, consent to, or participate in the placement of a child when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”

[…]

It adds, “The state or a local government or community-based care lead agency may not withhold a grant, contract, or participation in a government program from a private child-placing agency because of the agency’s refusal to perform, assist in, recommend, consent to, or participate in the placement of a child which violates the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”

* * * *

Malta now has one of the best trans and intersex laws in the world

Malta is now leading with one of the most comprehensive laws protecting trans and intersex people in the world.

They will no longer need to have surgery, sterilization and a diagnosis of mental illness to legally change gender under a law passed yesterday (1 April).

It will also ban medically unnecessary surgery on the genitals of intersex infants.

‘To say that this Act is a groundbreaking human rights milestone is almost an understatement.’ Paulo Paulo Côrte-Real, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board,said.

‘It provides an inspirational benchmark for other European countries that need to improve their own LGBTI equality standards. The Act is a beacon of hope – and bears testament to the political leadership and hard work of the LGBTI movement in Malta.’

The passage of the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (GIGESC) followed an apology from the governent to a trans woman Joanne Cassar who was successful in her fight to marry her husband.

* * * *

Michael Sam may be joining a Canadian football team

Jim Popp, the general manager of the Montreal Alouettes, believes he has a 50/50 shot of signing the player before training starts at the end of May.

The athlete, currently appearing on Dancing With The Stars, has said he is determined to return to the game by any means necessary.

Sam made history last year when he became the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team. He was later cut by the St. Louis Rams and the Dallas Cowboys.

‘The [Canadian Football League] is cut out perfectly for his style,’ Popp said. ‘It would give him the opportunity to do what he does best.’

* * * *

Angie’s List: Indiana’s RFRA fix ‘is insufficient’

Indiana lawmakers have drafted an update to the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act that seeks to explain that the law cannot be used in a discriminatory fashion, but critics of the law say the “fix” doesn’t go far enough to protect LGBT Hoosiers.

The first major company to dismiss the changes was Angie’s List, the Indiana-based business-review website that has been one of the most vocal critics of the law, reports the The Indianapolis Star

“Our position is that this ‘fix’ is insufficient,” Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle said in a statement Thursday morning, reported by the Star. “There was no repeal of RFRA and no end to discrimination of homosexuals in Indiana.”

The proposed amendment to the existing legislation, announced by state lawmakers Thursday, would explicitly prohibit “service providers from using the law as a legal defense for refusing to provide services, goods, facilities or accommodations,” reports the Associated Press. “It also bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or United States military service.”

But the prohibition on anti-LGBT discrimination applies only to entities affected by the so-called religious freedom bill, also known as Senate Bill 101. It does not change existing Indiana nondiscrimination law, which does not include protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, education, public accommodations, or housing.

“Employers in most of the state of Indiana can fire a person simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning,” said Oesterle. “That’s just not right and that’s the real issue here. Our employees deserve to live, work and travel with open accommodations in any part of the state.”

As a result of the “insufficient” changes, Angie’s List is standing by its decision to cancel a planned expansion of its headquarters in Indianapolis, according to the Star.

This is a good thing by Angie’s List.

{advertisement}
LGBT Link Round-Up 4.2.15
{advertisement}
The Orbit is still fighting a SLAPP suit! Help defend freedom of speech, click here to find out more and donate!